Chris Carver from the Lennd Blog led a very interesting interview with IMEX CEO Carina Bauer. During the interview, they talked about a number of topics including how she got into the meetings industry, the effects of technology, the importance of face to face meetings and more! Here are just two quick questions that are especially relevant to the meetings industry.
Carver: What are your top 5 tips for getting the most out of being an exhibitor at a trade show?
1. Incorporate the show into a year-round marketing plan!
Work out what your top objectives are for the show and approach the show with these in mind – it will help you make decisions on your activities, branding, everything!
2. Only invest in those items that fit your objectives!
Work with the organizer to take advantage of every element of the show you can – find out what’s free and included, as well as the extras that might be worth the additional investment.
3. Be prepared!
Make sure your staff are trained; make sure you know about every event, education, appointment and schedule at the show before you get there. For IMEX shows – make sure you spend the month prior doing everything you can, not only to get appointments in the diary, but to prepare for those that you have. Do you know who the buyer is, what they are coming to see you for, details about their company and prior events? Plan to really impress them when they get to your booth for that 30 minutes.
4. After the show – follow-up!
It’s the obvious thing, but most people don’t do it, or don’t do it well enough. An un-targeted email isn’t good enough for those who have taken the trouble to visit your booth and have an appointment. Make sure you and your team have a plan for how you will follow-up each appointment in an individual way and when.
5. Manage expectations!
When you’re at the show, manage the buyer’s expectations so that they know when to expect to hear from you – it doesn’t need to be within 24 hours – if a week or two is more realistic for a really good follow-up, tell them that and then deliver. That’s more impressive than a standard email ‘thank-you’ that’s clearly gone to hundreds of people the day after.
Carver: Do you have any parting wisdom for this industry? For people reading this interview?
As an industry, advocating the value is important. I don’t just mean the overall economic value. I mean it in the sense of really empowering people to be very proud of the job they do, which is essentially bringing people together to take something forward, whether that is a business goal or research or education or whatever it is. I think giving people within the industry the tools to do that within their organizations would be a great legacy for this generation.
We need to elevate the understanding of the meetings and conference industry. It’s more strategic within a business than perhaps it first appears.